News

2013.03.07 13:41

Vilnius to name street, square in honour of rescuers of Jews

A street in the Lithuanian capital may be named after Ona Simaite, a librarian of the Vilnius University who helped ghetto Jews during World War II, while a near-by square may be named the Square of Righteous Among Nations. 

A street in the Lithuanian capital may be named after Ona Simaite, a librarian of the Vilnius University who helped ghetto Jews during World War II, while a near-by square may be named the Square of Righteous Among Nations.

The proposal of naming the objects in the Verkiai neighborhood will be decided by the Lithuanian capital’s council on Wednesday.

During the Nazi rule, Simaite used to enter the Vilnius ghetto by saying she had to retrieve books from Jewish students. Instead, she brought them food, letters and books, bringing back valuable historic and literature works. She also helped hide refugees.

In 1944, the Nazis arrested and tortured Simaite, she was held in a concentration camp and fled to France after the war.

Simate was one of the first Lithuanians to be awarded the title of Righteous Among Nations by the Jerusalem-based institution Yad Vashem in 1966.

She passed away in 1970.

More than 90 percent of Lithuania’s pre-war Jewish population of 200,000 perished during the World War II.

Some 830 Lithuanians have been recognized Righteous Among Nations for helping Jews, although the actual number of assistants was considerably larger. New names are being added to the list.